While we’re waiting for one Steven Spielberg movie to arrive – his West Side Story remake – the legendary director is already putting the pieces in place for his next project. And this time, it’s personal: Spielberg will reportedly co-write and direct a coming-of-age movie inspired by his own childhood growing up in Arizona.
During the late 50s and early 60s, Spielberg spent his formative years in Phoenix, Arizona, and it was his experience making 8mm movies in his backyard that led to him becoming the most recognisable filmmaker in the world.
Right now it’s unknown whether his new film will actually be a period piece, but we do know that the main protagonist will not be called Steven Spielberg. But the film is expected to draw from his relationship with his parents, who got divorced after the family moved to California while the future filmmaker was still in high school.
Spielberg wound up moving in with his father, but the two had a strained relationship until they hashed things out later in life. Spielberg also faced anti-Semitism while living in Phoenix. These themes and more will likely play a big part in what should be a fascinating film.
Spielberg will co-write the film alongside Tony Kushner (Munich, Lincoln), his first co-writing credit since 2001’s A.I. Michelle Williams is reportedly in negotiations to play the protagonist’s mother, and Spielberg is currently conducting screen tests with young actors, including the lead at two different ages.
Spielberg has always had an affinity for working with young actors – think the children in Jurassic Park and E.T., plus Dakota Fanning and Christian Bale in War Of The Worlds and Empire Of The Sun, respectively – but this will surely be the most personal of roles for whoever gets cast, and Spielberg will no doubt want to get it right.
Every announcement of a new Spielberg film is worth getting excited about, but this one especially so. Spielberg’s films have become such a big part of so many people’s childhoods, it seems only fair that he’s allowed to share his with us. The film is currently untitled, but is expected to begin shooting this July in advance of a planned 2022 release.
As for West Side Story, it was supposed to arrive last year, but was delayed due to the pandemic. It’s now scheduled to hit cinemas on Friday, December 21.